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Bulgarian Capital Ranks Among Least Sustainable European Cities

Date: 20.07.2011

Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, continues to rank 29th out of 30 in the European Green City Index.

The study, assessing the environmental impact of Europe's major cities, is developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit and ranks 30 major cities across Europe relative to one another in eight categories with 30 underlying indicators.

The categories are, as follows- CO2, Buildings, Energy, Transport, Water, Waste and Land Use, Air Quality, Environmental Governance.

The eight categories are based on 30 individual indicators — 16 of which are quantitative (e.g. consumption of water and energy per capita, recycling rate, and use of public transportation) and 14 qualitative (e.g. CO2 reduction targets, efficiency standards for buildings, and support for environmental protection measures).

Sofia has a total score of 36.85, compared to 97 for the winner, Copenhagen, Bulgarian daily Dnevnik reports.

Bulgaria's capital fares worst in water use with a mark of 1.80, according to statistics presented by Lyudmil Leonidov, an architect, during the first forum "Sofia a Green City".

Despite the bottom place it occupies in the ranking, the city has a good green system.

It also boasts very good water resources, despite the fact that water use in Sofia is the least efficient, participants in the discussion have noted.

Sofia's current priority is electric transport, according to Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

In her words, the city has 30 new trolleybuses, with another 50 due to arrive, after which almost the entire fleet will be replaced.

New bicycle alleys have been built in the Mladost residential district and one is to be built along the Gotse Delchev Blvd.

The launch of electronic municipal services is also among the key goals for the city.

Unlike most of the cities in the ranking, the Sofia Municipality still predominantly uses paper.

The maintenance and planting of public gardens, parks and other green areas will continue to feature prominently on the municipality's agenda.

The discussion yielded interesting ideas of civically engaged Sofianites, including compulsory ecology classes for children and stepping up civil pressure for a clean city and better execution of functions.

According to economist Dimitar Sabev, a concept paper on sustainable development must be prepared, making use of what is available, because "There is no sense in putting efforts into weak spots".

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